§ Mr. Horam
asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department why he has reduced the rate of taxi fares for distances over six miles in London; if he expects that this will lead to more refusals; whether he contemplates any action to remove the right of taxi drivers to refuse fares above this mileage; what consultations he has had with the trade over his actions over the six-mile problem; and if he will make a statement.
§ Mr. Whitelaw
As I stated in my reply to a question by my hon. Friend, the Member for Ilford, North (Mr. Bendall) on 15 June, I have decided to allow a substantial increase in London taxi fares to come into effect on 22 July. This increase will apply to the rate of fare payable on journeys of all distances, including those beyond six miles where the rate will increase by 16 per cent. from approximately 43p per mile to 50p per mile. I am assured by the trade that this will lead to fewer refusals, particularly for journeys of between three and six miles.
I have accepted the recommendations of both the departmental committee on the London taxi cab trade and the Price Commission report on prices, costs and margins in the provision of taxi cab and private hire car services, that the surcharge payable on journeys beyond six miles should be reduced from its present level of 100 per cent. of the fare payable on that part of the journey beyond six miles. The new tariff will therefore incorporate a surcharge of 50 per cent. as requested unanimously by the London joint cab trade committee in a letter sent to my Department on 10 October 1978. My Department has had continuing discussions with the trade about all aspects of the tariff since that date.
I have no plans at present to extend compellability beyond six miles.